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LGBTIQ+ People - Providing a Safe Tasmania

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 5 May 2022

Tags: LGBTI, Mental Health, Political Leadership


As you know, yesterday the results of the Government-commissioned UTAS LGBTIQ survey were released. One of the series of serious issues raised in the report were examples of LGBTIQ+ Tasmanians being confronted with bigotry, sexual assault and transphobic attitudes in health care professionals. Do you accept that bigoted and transphobic rhetoric from politicians like Senator Claire Chandler and Senator Eric Abetz can contribute to, and legitimise, transphobic sentiments in the community, including among health care professionals?

The Greens know, Premier, that you do stand with LGBTIQ+ people, but do you acknowledge there is a transphobic culture amongst some members of your party including senior and influential members? What are you doing, as Premier, to combat this culture and deliver a safer Tasmania for all LGBTIQ+ people?



Mr Speaker, I thank the Leader of the Greens for the question.

To answer the last part of your question first - I lead by example. Last night I was very pleased to be in the room with the Leader of the Opposition, members of the Greens, and many people including Ms O'Byrne, Mr O'Byrne, Ms Archer and Mr Street. We were commemorating, if that is the right word, 25 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality and the passage of those laws through this parliament. It was an insightful discussion and there were some wonderful speakers, including Mr Rodney Croome, who I have long admired for his very strong advocacy over decades. How tough his experiences must have been as a young person, with bigotry, vitriol and the hurtful comments.

My commentary in my discussion yesterday was about how far we had come as a State. We are one of the states leading the world, when it comes to supporting inclusive practise and LGBTIQ+ community. However, I was mindful of comments from Lynn Jarvis from Working it Out; Ange who provided the survey from the university; and from Rodney himself, that we still have some way to go with respect to these matters.

It is important to me to support mental health and wellbeing and a best practice approach, by building a contemporary, integrated model of mental health care when it comes to supporting our LGBTIQ+ community.

Ms O'Connor - Have you ever picked up the phone to Senator Chandler?

Mr ROCKLIFF - My views on that matter are well known and have been publicly reported. We believe that every Tasmanian, no matter what their background or circumstance, should be treated fairly, with respect, and have equal opportunity to engage in Tasmanian life.

It was very good to join advocates, friends, and families from the LGBTIQ+ community last night.

We know that Tasmania's record with regard to the treatment of LGBTIQ+ community was shameful, and we acknowledge that for some, the journey has been very personally difficult and challenging. I recall the 30-year anniversary in 2019 of the hurtful discussion in my electorate at Ulverstone in 1989.

While we have come a long way with some of the best laws in the country, we acknowledge that many people still face discrimination. We have just released the largest survey of its kind in the state hich gives us all insights into lives of Tasmania's LGBTIQ+ community which outlines several concerns and actions. These include transgender rights and inclusion; support for rural LGBTIQ+ communities; ageing; the erosion of legislative protections; and the impacts of conversion practices. These indicate emerging issues of concern that will require multifaceted social and economic policy and legislative changes and resourcing to address. We took note of that very clearly yesterday.

The broad policy priority areas for LGBTIQ+ inclusion identified in the report are schools, education, healthcare, mental health, workplaces, policing and safety. While I have said there is much to celebrate, clearly the survey demonstrates there are still barriers encountered by the community, particularly in rural and regional parts of the state. The survey provides us guidance on how the Government can continue to ensure the community has equal access to programs and services across government. That work will be led at a ministerial level by minister Street.

We will utilise this important data, develop our new whole-of-government framework and action plan this year, and work alongside a whole-of-government working group to address these service gaps. We remain committed in partnership with the community by listening to the voices of lived experience. We will all continue to learn, engage, and act.